The highly acclaimed DVD collection of low-budget auteur Edgar G. Ulmer's classic genre films continues with this fabled film noir. "Strange Illusion
is another stylish low-budget feature directed by Edgar G. Ulmer," writes Carl Macek in Silver & Ward's indispensable guide "Film Noir," "The most interesting aspect of the film rests in its updating of Hamlet,
complete with a message from beyond the grave and the faked insanity, into contemporary thriller. The asylum sequences are controlled visions of chaos and corruption, a mental hell sardonically defined by Ulmer." A Poverty Row suspense classic as only Ulmer made 'em.
Clean-cut American teen Jimmy Lydon is tormented by nightmares in which his deceased father warns him about Mom's new boyfriend, and he feigns madness to infiltrate a mental hospital where he suspects the answers lie. Yes, it's Hamlet
refigured as a suburban film noir thriller with a psychiatric twist. Former Hollywood leading man Warren William is thoroughly wolfish as a silver-haired lothario whose slick charm and classy manners hide a disturbing taste for teenage girls, and Sally Eilers plays his mark, the young widow with two teenage kids and a sizable life insurance payoff. B-movie legend Edgar G. Ulmer (Detour
) overcomes a starvation budget to create a modest little thriller with understated mood, simple but eerie dream sequences, and a creepy undercurrent of corruption and sexual deviance. --Sean Axmaker